Thursday, July 30, 2009


Well, I was just going to put in the darks and then post again but I liked what I was doing so did more. And then I put some light colors on the petals and removed the miskit. This is where it stands right now and I'm enjoying it so far.

Ready to call it a day on this and maybe pick it up again tomorrow.

And Smudge wants me to share this handsome photo of him...stretched out in the sunroom and watching me photograph the blushing magnolia and asking, "Why are you still working on that painting, Mom, instead of petting me?"


Well, since I'm not happy with this painting as it stands, it doesn't hurt to go back and try to work out that background shape and color and value and...
So I spritzed the color off with a harsh spray of clean water and let the color run off the page away from the flower. Dabbed a bit to lift the loosened color, too. And ended up with this.

And the question is: Now what?

1. Look closely at the shapes that are still in that area of the background and determine which should be left pale and which should be darker.

2. Test the darks with a piece of acetate over the painting and paint on that before touching more pigment to paper

3. Take a break from this for a few hours before doing anything so I return with fresh eyes.

4. Give up? :)

In the meantime I've gone back to this painting - remember it? Started several weeks ago and left sitting due to lack of enthusiasm and the batik workshop and the printmaking day and (maybe it was due to lack of time not enthusiasm!). So far I've left the miskit/liquid frisket on and painted in the darks but not really continuing with the "Great White Shape" technique on my own with this one.
(The darks are drying right now so I'll share them later.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Well, I went in with some grayed colors - halftones is what Jeanne Dobie calls them in her book. But I think I went too dark in places and it just looked muddy.

So my usual way to deal with this is just go darker and richer in the background...which is what I did. But I still don't like it. Needing critiques and comments to help me through this one - perhaps I'll start over and try to stay very high key with this one...which was the assignment for the color group that I didn't seem able to do. High key is so hard for me!

Now that I see the first one again, I don't hate it as much as I did when I saw it after the bg dried. I should have just lifted some of the bg negative shapes and dropped in other colors and let it be...each painting is another lesson!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Still working with my little group of artist friends (there are only 4 of us) who challenged each other to do some sketches of our surroundings this month. The month is coming to a close so I did a few of these while waiting for paint to dry.

Jerry's glasses on the table by the phone.

And then a little green sea turtle done in a way to possibly make a print someday.

And then a few little milagros for hearts and eyes...and another little turtle. These weren't things around in my surroundings but just things I was thinking about at the time.

Margaret Ann at waterblossoms had done a couple of these little heart milagros and, since I was in a heart mode last month and didn't complete what I started, I thought these would be easier and faster than doing a real heart - plus you can color these and keep them in your pocket as a charm against heart problems of all kinds :)
Now I'm going to watch my Carla O'Connor DVD again to check some of her techniques again...and then I'm going to get back to painting what I have in the works. Will have something to share later today or tomorrow so stay tuned.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


When you come home so dissatisfied with it that you can't wait to do something else to it and add paint, gouache, more paint, stamps, etc. until you like it much better - but it's not a print anymore. That's okay. It's a better image now.

I'm calling it Red-Ribboned Woods.

And Carla posted her 2 prints and my plate and Marilyn's plate on her blog - check it out (it's the second posting).


I drove over to Marilyn Bishop's house yesterday in a thunderstorm, the sky darkening more and more as I got closer to her neighborhood. Finally, the deluge happened and the lightning dashed across the sky, painting the dark grey clouds with zigzags of bright white. Very impressive. And so was the line to get into Starbucks drive-through! So passed that up and went for a hot mocha McCafe from McDonald's - not bad but probably not allowed on my diet - hey, sometimes you have to break the rules :)

The print I made - 7 1/2 x 11 1/2 - did not turn out to be a winner so I worked more on it when I got home (after I got past the migraine that was starting earlier). Still needs some darks and I have another idea for it - it may be worth spending another hour on it to see if I can pull it out of it's ugly stage.

And I got a very pale "ghost print" on rice paper after I pulled the first print and that will probably show up in a collage piece some time in the future.

I got to meet Carla Trujillo while there - she came to do some of her printmaking and had a very successful print with numbers and whites added - lot of depth and interest so I hope she shares it on her blog.

And I came home with a little French Press Marilyn didn't want - so pretty - and some delicious Heritage tomatoes her husband grows (he is one serious gardener and has a lovely garden and fruit trees). We got to taste some of her tomatoes for lunch, too - yummy!

What do you think? A potential painting in this? I think so!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Went a bit darker on some petals and the leaves. Now need to go into the rest of the background - that open space left white so far. But maybe later. Right now I'm trapped by a really interesting mystery called Island of Lost Girls and want to see how it ends - who did it? Or in this case? How many did what and when and why? It's a good book.
And tomorrow I'll be doing some more printmaking at Marilyn's house. Need to gather up my materials for the day!


A bit darker blush on some of the petals in areas - not all. And then began the green leaves. Still reading much warmer than it is but can't do much about it - I've tried every white balance setting on the camera and it's too big to scan (the scanner would probably make it too yellow since that is its favorite color!).
Will work on this more today.
While visiting some of my favorite blogs this morning, I realized the painting icon is not showing up for many of them on the blogroll. Not sure why...nothing I've done so I assume Blogger will fix that soon. Check out the blogroll - I've added some new ones in the past few days you may not have seen yet. (I tend to delete those whose blogs I comment on several times but never get a reply - that may seem petty but I'm trying to keep the roll down to a manageable level and those bloggers who post their work but never reply to any comments makes me wonder why they even allow comments? Does anyone else feel that way or is it just me?)

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Staying very pale with these colors. And working slowly so I don't get into the rush-and-ruin state. The first stage is to see the blushing colors on the white flower and then put those in. Then I'll put in complementary grayed areas around the flower and maybe cutting into the flower in places. But all this has to be bone dry before I go back to it or everything will bleed and get ugly. I may darken some pale colors but only if necessary.

It looks so easy to paint this way when I see others do it...pale colors being built up until you get to the value you want. But it's not easy for me - I want to put some blended colors in there much darker than this. Going to try hard to keep this high key. (Apparently, I never learned how to paint watercolors like most watercolorists paint - light to dark slowly and surely!) The edging of the leaves is New Gamboge and is more yellow than this is showing but the camera would not pick up the yellow without distorting the blues and pinks and violets in the petals so it's a trade off.


I was looking for something mostly white to paint - I don't do architecture so falling back on flowers and organic things. This photo was taken right outside the Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky during our recent vacation trip. Beautifully creamy white petals I'll try to paint keeping everything pale (I hope) until the end.
(Photo by Jerry although I have some of the same flower in the same position, I think Jerry's is more crisp and shows more variety in the pale colors - can you see the warm and cool blushes of color in those petals?)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I tried the blushing white exercise for the color group. Using eggs may not have been the best choice as it's hard to get them to look 3D with just a blush of color over them and a bleed of the complementary gray around them. Oh, well. The final painting will be of something with more angles and shadows and...something else.

So the goal was to paint the object with a blush of color that still makes it look white when seen - not as easy as it looks for someone who is not a high key painter, like me!

Then paint around that object with a complementary color that is grayed down and is 1-2 values darker than the blushing white.

Didn't do anything yesterday...fighting a migraine and had to take my last pill for it (my primary physician won't renew my meds because I haven't been in to see her since November 08 - so had to make an appointment to see a doctor but can't get in until Friday 31st so hoping no more migraines before then because I have no meds. I will be glad IF our government can do something to fix this stupid system). Part of the problem is getting up early and sitting at the computer for an hour in the AM...tightens my neck and shoulder muscles...causes migraines. So less time on the computer for me for a while.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Yesterday, the second day of the batik workshop, and we had to bring in our own photos and drawings to work from so I used the American Lotus photo taken at Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky.
I did a black and white 5 x 7 copy and then traced that to get just the lines. Then we had to make a guide for ourselves for the batik painting.
You use colored pencils/crayons and paint each value separately. So...white can be white but the next lightest value should be a color - yellow usually works well and shows up well. So you have white, yellow, and so on...until you get to your darkest values. Usually about 5 different values planned out will give you a good batik. Sometimes it's hard to see those middle values so go slow and take a break when you start rushing (this is my goal for myself because impatience is my middle name).

The guide will look NOTHING like the painting will look. It is just colored areas to show you the next values so you know where to put the wax on the paper next. In fact, it looks pretty odd and ugly. But it's just a guide. I made a mistake with mine and used an orange, a red and a fuscia color = too close in color to see clearly so I had to go over the red with green and use that instead for my 4th value. Then I could see it more clearly.
This part of the process really makes you stop and look and see the values in your photo. You hope you do it right and it comes out that way in the final batik, but I did rush a bit and skip a step in places (putting wax where it should have been left alone or leaving wax off places I should have covered at that stage). But that's okay - little mistakes and omissions won't kill the painting for you.

So you wax the whites, then paint. Deb has you paint the flower as you would normally paint it so you blend some colors with more water to get softer merges of color. Then that dries and you wax the yellows. Then more painting, a bit darker and moving around the flower (I painted the main subject in first before going on to the background because my background was going to be lots of greens and blues in pretty dark values). So I was actually painting the subject in each time I painted.

Next wax after this dried was the orange - more paint - dry - next wax was the green value - more paint...and here's where I began going into the background more and blending the colors. The Unryu paper was medium weight and held up nicely but you still don't want to brush it a lot or the fibers will begin to come up.

You get the idea.

And here is my finished batik of the American Lotus. (I love splattering so about the 5th layer, I put the wax on and splattered wax all over the paper, too - it created those nice bubbles you see and I think it works for showing the pads and water).

The only thing I don't like is the pale pad right under the lily that should have been one value darker to show it's a lily pad...and the blue-green shape is a bit too much, too, although that color does show up in the lily. Deb says taking all the wax off the batik at the end is either like Christmas - oooooh, aaahhhh - or like a bad surprise birthday party - eeeeek!!!

When the whole piece of paper has wax on it, you let it dry, then you crack some of the wax off in places (not too much and not big chunks). This allows you to go back with a dark mix of paint and smoosh that paint into the painting in the open cracks = that creates the batik look of it. Then you blot off excess paint, dry it completely, and then you iron it in between sheets of newsprint and newspaper. A hot iron melts the wax off the paper and you have to keep getting clean newsprint and newspaper and ironing until no more wax comes off.

Then you glue the piece of Unryu to regular watercolor paper (a bit larger than the Unryu), and you are ready to mat and frame it :) You should use acid free glue if you want it to last and be archival. I'm using PVA Glue on mine but haven't glued them yet.

Deb is a good teacher - and I recommend her workshops (she has 2 others scheduled and might do it again in the fall if there is enough interest). Her place is wonderful - as you work you look out at the absolute stillness of the lake/pond and it just makes you feel good. I imagine in the fall it would be fabulous out there and Mike (her husband) might even take you around on the "gator" vehicle to show you the whole place and what he's accomplished out there. Don't forget to say "Howdy" to the Red Devins and little Sunny (their newest addition, a male calf).

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Well, here is the lotus I began in Thursday's class using the Great White's much easier for me to see the darks than the lights for some reason (hey, maybe that's why I can't save my whites - I can't see them!! ha ha) We were allowed to misket out what needs to be kept pure, untouched white within the Great White Shape so the miskit is on the paper, still.

Anyway...beginning with the pale wash over everything that isn't the Great White Shape. Next step will be putting the darks on 10% of the paper, touching the white shape here and there.
And had my abstract critiqued and, once home again, I took the wet media acetate (plastic sheet made to take wet media so you can paint on it with watercolor and it will wash right off) and painted in some really good strong darks. Then took that off and painted the darks on the paper.

Here's what I am left with. It's still not a great painting - may not even be a good painting - but it looks better than it did before this stage. It's not good enough for a title but it looks like a Carousel to me.

So...we had one lotus...started with the Great White Shape.

And in the batik workshop today Deb shared this photo of a lotus blossom so we all worked on that using our own palette. Needless to say, I'm the only one working in blues!

We began by tracing the photo onto the rice paper (Unryu), then brushing melted wax onto everything that would be white.

Then we painted on the pale colors and, when that dried, we waxed what would be the next on until we came to the end (using the colored pencil guide Deb gave us).
And I ended up with this:

There are some areas I could tweak a bit, but I'll live with it a few days (Deb's suggestion) and see what I really want to change.

And the next lotus? That will be the one from Jerry's photo. And I have homework to do - I have to print a 5 x 7 photo and then trace it and just put in the lines (no shading). Then make a colored pencil guideline for the batik we do tomorrow.

I think the black and white photo will help me see the values better. I always get lost in the midtones so I'll try this on my own and, if I can't get it right, I'll have Deb help me tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Will be taking a weekend workshop learning some different ways to do batik - from Deb Ward. Should be fun, interesting, and I hope to come out of it with a decent keeping my fingers crossed.

So...I'll be catching up again Monday! Have a great weekend. We are going to have record low temperatures in the 70Fs - in July!!! Amazing!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Jerry's photo of an American lotus, almost bloomed out and showing the large middle seedpod. I liked it and it was different...with some good whites and pale colors.

Sketched on a large sheet of newsprint to get the composition/values before starting on this one.
And Deb Ward saw it, so I'm going to use this for my batik painting in her weekend workshop Saturday and Sunday. Hope I get those values right (in batik, it's all about the values...and shapes...and colors...and....ha ha).
(Deb and Joyce came over this morning and we had a blog lesson. I hope Joyce learned enough to create her own blog when she gets time; and hope Deb learned a few things from me that were new to her, too.)
Now I hear those eggs calling me to come paint them - wish me luck and good eyes!


Helping friends learn blogger and got a blog post that won't delete!

So if you read some strange things here, that is why...more to come later.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Remember the blushing whites? Well, here are some photos of white things to play with, using the blushing whites and some halftones around them to bring them out and make them glow (if this works the way I think it should). So I'm off to paint eggs. Why not? It's as good a subject as any.

I once saw the members of WetCanvas paint "trolls" as a way to practice their whites. Trolls, you say? Well, that was their term for toilet paper rolls! haha


This is a test of to see if I can make it work here. And it is a showing of the photos for the self-portrait challenge from David Lobenberg's new blog. These are the best I have in hats...and a caveat: I did not have any makeup on and my face looks awfully shiny (yes, I still have oily skin at 52!!!). Choose a favorite, if you want to do so...I may have to try to do a couple of these.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Sketched this Wii game and console and other stuff yesterday. Bought this for Jerry's birthday. His birthday isn't until August but he wanted it early so he got it early :) I wasn't sure it was something we needed to have around and that I would enjoy it but it is fun...well, some of it is fun. Some of it (like the tennis?!?) is just frustrating right now but I imagine we'll learn our way around it someday.


I like self-portraits that are not just face forward, straight on, here you are, looking at me, warts and all. So I like this one. My lovely bowler and a hint of a smile. I had to have a black bowler after seeing Lena Olin in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, so I've had this for decades.

I think I'll try to paint this one for the next Self-Portrait Global Love-in...and since the deadline isn't until September 12, I have plenty of time to do it right the first time or mess up a couple of times while working on it in between other things. (The photo is lightened quite a bit because otherwise the black bowler is just a black cutout shape with no real shaping to to see the rim and the bowl better, I just faded the color out.)

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I just couldn't stand how overworked the butterfly painting was...and I wasn't very happy with the abstract, did them both over (well, started the abstract over and finished the butterfly again).

Not THAT sure the butterfly is better but it is not overworked in color - not lots of brushing. I prewet and dropped the color in and let it blend and flow = much better in that respect. But the wings are uneven (perhaps that left wing was tilted up a bit in the photo?). Oh, well, not going to beat this to death so this is it for the blue morpho. May do another and another until I can match what I want on paper with what I see in my mind for these.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Some days it seems I've forgotten everything I've learned about painting. I just go in and splash and splatter and overwork a painting to the point where it's screaming, "Please! Put me out of my misery!!" Maybe it's vacation and still the after-effects of not sketching or painting or viewing artwork (except one trip to the museum) all the time. Maybe it's just a summer let-down.


In class Thursday we worked on the Good White Shape and created abstracts. We were to leave some whites, use our values, temperatures and shapes to create something interesting. Unfortunately, I just kept going in with color, washing it off, going back in, washing it off...the Kilimanjaro paper held up pretty well but I can't say the same for the painting.

This is it - whatever it is...
And then I was working on just playing...painting a pretty butterfly...but that didn't work either! I did the same thing...putting the paint in, taking it off, putting it in, taking it off. No wonder the poor butterfly looks so TIRED!!!

Well, tomorrow is another day...the muse will return, I'm sure. It always does. But for now I think she has packed her bags and gone off on vacation for a while...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


One of my online groups is working on blushing whites. Not pure white of the paper but a blush of color over then. Jeanne Dobie talks about this in her Making Color Sing book and says you put half-tones next to those blushing whites and you can move the color from warm to cool, etc. You can even make a pure white seem like it's a warm or a cool. Interesting. So we're playing with that. The first go-round, I put too much pigment in so had to go back and add more water and just a touch of the pigment. You can see the swatches in the 2nd set but just barely. It's harder to get the hint of color than you think!


David Lobenberg has set a new "challenge" for us - this time, not just a self-portrait but a self-portrait of us wearing hats, headgear, scarves, anything covering our heads.

Hmmm...could be very interesting, indeed!

Try it - you'll have fun and enjoy it - and send the painting to David by the September 12 deadline so he can put it on the Self-Portrait Global Love-in blog. Since we want this to be a truly GLOBAL Love-in, tell your artist friends all over the world so we have even more people participating from various countries.

I'll be looking for photos of me wearing something over my head...since I never wear hats, I may need some new photos...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


A few more quick sketches from the deck this time - I finally got off the sofa and moved...but only to sit down on the deck and watch the birds at the feeders and look at the plants around. I have one teeeny tiny tomato on my container plant and one in my Topsy Turvey planter (yep, that thing really works!).

I sketched this with just graphite. Then went back in with ink and worked it so it had stronger lines. I need to get a thinner ink pen for this. (It's a calla lily Jerry bought for photography purposes - I only get flowers if he can use them for photography! ha ha).

Then did a little one this morning of the birds at the feeder and on the table under the feeders. A papa cardinal and his baby...he was so protective of her and fed her at times. It's always a pleasure when the smaller birds get to feast a while without being interrupted and frightened by the many grackles who sometimes take over the place.

It's pretty pale because it's just graphite.


Hmmm...seem to be sooo lazy. Some health issues since I've returned - minor, I hope. But just sooo lazy. I don't seem to be able to get anything started. I've printed out some lotus blossom photos but they sit on the coffee table, waiting for me to even take them down to my art room. So maybe the butterflies would get be going...may print out a few of those. How can I resist those blues?

I'll let you know. It's not the heat. The weather is warm but wonderful (nice breezes and low humidity and not too hot). Maybe it's the after-vacation let-down? If so, I need to get over this and get back in gear for Thursday's watercolor class! Can't just go there and watch everyone else paint...

...or can I?

Monday, July 6, 2009


Just doing some sketching in my Exacompta book for the PALS group who are trying to do more sketching together. We are to show our homes, work, neighborhoods, etc. Anything personal to us.

Spent the rainy day Friday watching Andy Roddick beat Andy Murray at just did a quick pen and ink sketch of that - no, it doesn't look like Roddick in the far court - and no, it doesn't look like very good perspective on the court itself, but that's why we're doing this = to get better :) Poor, Andy, that's why he couldn't beat Roger Federer - his legs were too bowed to be able to cover the court! ha ha

After that (and how bad it was), I tried another and did the top of my front door as seen from my livingroom and then the top of one of my bookcases. I don't like the perspective on the door and frame but I'm not too ashamed of the bookcase and books.

All done with a hokey Pitt Pen that skips and I don't like - need to get another pen with a fine line to use.

Today is such a day,
I get to have more blood drawn (where is that icon for the vampire when you need it?) for another test per my cardiologist's orders. I'm getting tired of this stuff and have gone back to a plant-based diet (can't eat anything with a face or a mother or products of such so no dairy or eggs and no meat of any kind) to see if I can get myself healthy again and strong. So far I've lost another 5 pounds - not bad - and don't feel weak or tired but am more sensitive to things that cause problems (like trying to eat just one little piece of dark chocolate and getting a migraine almost immediately - boo hooo!!!!!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009


From the Butterfly House in St. Louis...

I was going to identify each butterfly, based on the brochure we were given at the Butterfly House. Unfortunately, only 2 of the many photos I took are of anything even resembling what is shown in the brochure.

Your guess is as good as mine!

The Paper Kite

Nothing common at all about this Common Blue Morpho, unless you only see it with its wings closed and then you don't even get a hint of the beautiful blue coloring inside!